The Labor Department on Tuesday said that the number of job openings was little changed from June to July.
The number of openings stands at 3.7 million. but that number, well shy of numbers before the recession, reflects what amounts to a hiring manager's labor market, Economic Policy Institute economist Elise Gould said in a statement.
"When a job opening goes unfilled when the labor market is weak like it is today, it may very well be due to the company holding out for an overly qualified candidate at a very cheap price," Gould said.
By comparison, the average number of job openings in 2007, before the recession hit, was 4.5 million, the institute said.
The number of openings has fallen 17 percent since 2007.
In addition, the number of job seekers who dropped out of the labor force in the in July, 263,000, put the number of unemployed at 11.5 million.
That pushed the "job seekers ratio" -- the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings -- slightly higher in July to 3.1-to-1.
Differences in labor market conditions can make big differences to workers and their families and reflect how the economy is really doing, Gould said.
For example, in a worker's market, a company would be striving to find good candidates and offering better benefits and higher wages in order to attract one.
In a hiring manager's market, those patterns can go into reverse, Gould said, with companies tending to hire overqualified workers and offer them minimal pay and benefits.